Born to be baaaaaa-d

Born to be baaaaaa-d

By Rick Wade
There was plenty of horseflesh on display during two days of harness racing at the Grandstand during the 2013 Macoupin County Fair.

But a shorter, stockier, much fluffier animal was the center of attention June 25 on the other side of the fairgrounds.

Some of the finest representatives of their breeds showed off their stature and structure for the judges during the annual open, Junior and 4H Sheep Shows in the open-air sheep barn.

A small audience gathered on the reviewing stand in front of the center ring, watching the animals and talking among themselves in smaller individual groups.

Showing and judging sheep can be intense as the crews methodically and swiftly bring in and out a steady stream of the various classes of sheep.

Judges walk around the four-hooved contestants, touching their wool, eyeing their body structures, judging them.

Given the occasional bucking ram squirming against a handler’s grip, it’s obvious some of the sheep are more willing to cooperate than others.

But, according to one long-time local sheep handler, these woolly mammals are not judged on the way they act in the ring.

Arian Hammann laughed when asked if behavior has any bearing on the judge’s decision, as one particularly unruly sheep loudly bleated and reared back on its hind legs.

To read more of this story, visit our e-edition.